Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
October 13, 1997
Last Updated :
March 6, 2012
Jews' False Accusations Against Jesus, Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Was Pressured By Jewish Elders Into Crucifying Jesus, Disciples Persecuted And Killed: Stephen Stoned, James Killed With The Sword, Peter Is Imprisoned, Paul Beheaded, Jerusalem Church Is Persecuted And Scattered, Apostle Paul's Sufferings, Modern Jealous Christian Accusers Of God's Faithful Servants, Enemies Question Our Right And Authority To Preach The Gospel, Only By The Grace Spirit And Power Of God, Rivers Of Living Water, Knowledge Puffeth Up, Humble Yourself Before The Lord, Clay In The Potter's Hands, End Of Self Means To Die Daily, The Lord Lord Group, Relying Upon The Holy Spirit To Teach Us, Feed God's Sheep, Men Of Scant Education, John The Baptist
Continuing our discussion from part one, as we have seen, the proud, self-righteous, Jewish religionists foolishly rejected their very own Savior. They accused Jesus of being a drunk, a gluttonous man, a deceiver, a blasphemer, a liar, a devil, a false prophet, and a law breaker; and then they pressured the Roman governor -- Pontius Pilate -- into crucifying Jesus by means of mob rule, even though Pilate deemed Jesus innocent, and not worthy of death, as we see by the following verses:
"And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor . . . And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."
Matthew 27:2, 11-25, KJV
In fulfillment of Jesus' own words, following His own Death, Jesus' followers received the very same negative treatment from the very people they were trying to save. You can read all about these events in the Book of Acts, as well as in a number of the Epistles. A great persecution arose against the Church in Jerusalem. As a result, some of the Apostles and Disciples were imprisoned, while others were murdered in cold blood. Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews. James was killed with the sword by King Herod. Peter was sent to prison on several occasions, but escaped. The Apostle Paul was accused of being a ringleader of the dangerous sect of the Nazarenes, and was eventually beheaded by the order of mad Emperor Nero. These are just a few examples of the stiff persecution that was experienced by the First Century Church. Consider the following verses:
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
Acts 5:17-18, KJV
"When they [the Jews] heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 7:54-8:1-3, KJV
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Acts 12:1-4, KJV
"And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks."
Acts 16:19-24, KJV
"For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:"
Acts 24:5, KJV
"I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."
Acts 26:9-11, KJV
"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;"
2 Corinthians 6:4-5, KJV
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
2 Corinthians 11:23-27, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
It is my understanding that eventually, most of the First Century Apostles -- as well as many of the Disciples that they won to the Lord -- suffered martyrs' deaths at the hands of their accusers; similar to their Old Testament counterparts. While a large part of this was the result of severe Roman persecution, as the previous verses reveal, in the early years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, much of it stemmed from the unbelieving Jews as well. So again, the very people who needed saving, rebelled against the Lord, and persecuted and killed His servants in the First Century.
Ironically, the very same accusations that were made almost two thousand years ago by the Jewish religionists, are still being made today against the Lord's servants. Tragically, to their shame, these modern accusers are not just atheists, or the unbelieving Jews, or even people of other non-Christian religions. They also include certain Christian leaders who seem to be afraid that they may lose some of their followers, or perhaps some of their financial support. Modern evangelism is a highly competitive field, even though it shouldn't be.
Much like the Jewish Elders of old, some of these Christian leaders ask in an accusatory tone "By what right and by what authority do you preach the Gospel? How dare you to say that you hear from God! Which seminary did you attend? Where is your theological degree? Are you even ordained? Shame on you for even teaching those things! According to our church's beliefs, you are promoting false doctrines! You are a false prophet! We are commanded to rebuke people like you! You no doubt belong to a dangerous cult! You need to repent! You are going to hell!" On and on they go, whining and hissing with their snake-like tongues, and gnashing with their viper-like fangs. Is it a coincidence that we find some of these very same accusations in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts? Consider the following verses:
"And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?"
Matthew 21:23, KJV
"And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?"
Acts 4:6-7, KJV
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us."
Acts 5:27-28, KJV
"This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush."
Acts 7:35, KJV
I am quite familiar with this devilish, accusatory attitude. Over the years I have encountered a number of people who do not like -- and perhaps even hate -- what I preach, because it exposes their sins and hypocrisy, or else it contradicts what they want to believe, particularly when their beliefs do not align with the Scriptures, and cannot stand up to Scriptural scrutiny. As Jesus said of His own self-righteous Jewish accusers:
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
Thankfully, I have acquired enough Spiritual Discernment over the years to see right through these wolves in sheep's clothing, false shepherds, and blind leaders of the blind. I can differentiate between a sincere sheep who is hungry for the truth of God's Word, and an argumentative goat who only wants to waste my precious time by engaging in doctrinal debates. Isn't this precisely what the Jewish Elders tried to do with Jesus? If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please consider reading such articles as "Exposing the Tactics of the Enemy" and "Should Christians Engage in Doctrinal Debates?".
While many of these high-profile preachers and Christian leaders can boast of an impressive résumé and a long list of credentials to woo their audiences, in contrast, I only possess a high school diploma which I acquired quite a few decades ago. I cannot boast of having a theological degree from some prestigious seminary. Neither do I lead or belong to some big megachurch. I've done my share of jobs over the years, but none of them have been particularly outstanding. I am definitely not an eloquent speaker, and even standing in front of a crowd makes me nervous. The honest truth of the matter is that it is only by the Grace of God, and the Power of His Spirit, that I am able to accomplish anything. I am reminded of the message that the Angelic Messenger gave to the Prophet Zechariah to share with Zerubbabel:
"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zechariah 4:6, KJV
In reality, I am a rather shy, soft-spoken, private person. It is only when I get to talking about the Bible that the Spirit begins to bubble up within me and overflow. In fact, this is precisely what Jesus said would happen to those who believe in Him. Consider this verse:
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
John 7:38, KJV
So while I can be quite the preacher with the written word when God's Spirit moves me, in my normal state, I tend to be a rather nondescript person. In fact, based on the standards of the world, many people would no doubt view me as a nobody, a failure and a loser. But does it really matter what they think?
Having said that, it might surprise you to learn that there was a time in my life -- when I was a lot younger -- during which I was very proud, and very self-righteous, about some things. I thought that I was such a Saint. I thought I had such a great understanding of things. The Lord had to break me and humble me, and let me make a few mistakes in my life, so that I could finally recognize what a clod I really am. He also had to show me how little I know. As we saw in part one, knowledge tends to lift us up in our pride, if we are not careful, and that was one of my problems. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
". . . Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
1 Corinthians 8:1b-2, KJV
As I point out in such articles as "Are You Crucified With Christ?" and "So You Really Think You Are So Humble?" it is only when we come to the end of ourselves, and realize our miserable condition, when we stop boasting about ourselves and start uplifting the Lord in our lives, and submitting to His Will for our lives, that He can truly begin to use us in any measurable way. In short, as Jesus and the Apostles Peter and James all said, we must simply forsake our pride, and humble ourselves before the Lord, as we see by these verses:
"For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
Luke 14:11, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:7a, 10, KJV
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:6, KJV
The bottom line is that we must always remember that God is our Potter, and we are supposed to be the malleable clay in His Hands, which He can do with as He pleases. The Lord can fashion us for whatever purpose He deems most appropriate, and who are we to say otherwise? Consider these verses:
"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee . . ."
Jeremiah 1:5a, KJV
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."
Psalms 139:13-16, KJV
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
Genesis 2:7, KJV
"Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?"
Isaiah 29:16, KJV
"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
Isaiah 64:8, KJV
"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."
Jeremiah 18:6, KJV
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Romans 9:20, KJV
As long as we remain full of ourselves and our own personal accomplishments, we cannot be full of the Lord, or even be fully used by the Lord. There simply is not room enough for both. It is either Jesus working in us and through us, or else it is ourselves working in our strength according to our own wisdom. One has to die in order to make room for the other. As the Apostle Paul writes "I die daily":
"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
1 Corinthians 15:31, KJV
We need to stop trying to be somebody, and just be what God wants us to be. As we saw earlier, that is the problem with some of these modern preachers and Church leaders. They are so full of themselves, so full of their pride, so full of their seminary degrees, so full of their impressive list of credentials, so concerned with their public image, so drunk on the praises of men, so busy filling up their church pews and raking in the money, that there is really little room left for Jesus. Oh, they may think that they are faithfully serving the Lord, and they may think that the Lord will be pleased, but let me remind you of something very important that is heavily emphasized in the Gospels:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:21-23, KJV
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not."
Matthew 23:1-3, KJV
"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
Matthew 25:31-46, KJV
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Luke 6:46, KJV
"Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."
Luke 13:24-30, KJV
"Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Matthew 15:7-9, KJV
Returning to my personal situation, being as I do not have an impressive theological background from some established seminary -- much like the Messianic Jewess who I quoted at the beginning of this series -- I have to rely solely upon the Lord's Spirit to teach me; and I am convinced that He has. Because of my hunger and thirst for the Truth, because I have tried to remain open to whatever He desires to show me, I believe that the Lord has blessed me over the years with so many precious jewels from His Word, which I have been more than happy to share with my readers. Of course, Jesus promised us that this is how it would be; that is, that we would each be taught by revelation of the Holy Spirit. Consider the following verses:
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Galatians 1:11-12, KJV
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:"
Ephesians 1:17, KJV
"How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,"
Ephesians 3:3, KJV
While there are some people who view my work as junk -- I have sometimes been the target of some very hurtful remarks -- nevertheless I press on; because in my heart I know that I have been a blessing to others, because they tell me so. That in itself is a great reward, and provides me with a lot of personal satisfaction, because quite frankly, there is nothing that I enjoy more that feeding God's Sheep with His Word, and that's what my articles are all about. That brings to mind the following verse:
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalms 126:6, KJV
While a major portion of this series has been dedicated to revealing what kind of people the Lord finds it difficult -- if not impossible -- to use, we are now going to take a few moments to examine some additional verses which will show us what kind of people the Lord not only can use, but in fact, likes to use, and prefers to use. Depending upon your own personal background, you may possibly be surprised by what the Scriptures reveal concerning this issue.
While modern Christianity has placed considerable emphasis on attending a theological seminary and obtaining a Th.B, a Th.D or Th.M -- that is, a Bachelor of Theology degree, a Doctor of Theology degree or a Master of Theology degree -- a study of the Scriptures reveals that the Lord seems to prefer men who are of scant education. I suspect that this may possibly be because such men's minds haven't been filled yet with the knowledge of the world. Because they are not full of their own pride and wisdom, perhaps God can mold them more easily according to His needs. One prime example is obviously John the Baptist. To some people, John was no doubt considered a wild man in the wilderness who ate locusts and wild honey, as we see by these verses:
"And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."
Matthew 3:4, KJV
"And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;"
Mark 1:6, KJV
Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.
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